5 outdoor things to do in Palm Springs

Fall and spring are great times to visit Palm Springs; you miss out on the worst of the summer heat, but also the cooler temperatures of the winter. Take advantage of all the outdoor beauty and see some of these sights while the weather is at its best.

What to do outdoors in Palm Springs


Visit the gardens – Moorten Botanical Gardens

This  landmark has been around since 1938. The garden is named for the Moorten family — all desert plant specialists — who built their land into a living plant museum. There are thousands plants here plus a “Cactarium,” featuring native cacti and succulents. Want more gardens to visit? Check out our Top 5 Gardens in Palm Springs.

Take a walking tour

We covered some of the great walking tours available in Palm Springs in our recent ‘Great Tours’ series:

See inside a Modern Home

Explore the Desert with a guide

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Getting outside and enjoying the weather on foot while learning something is a great way to get some exercise and broaden your mind.  Whether you’re interested in learning about modernism, history, or about food, a walking tour is a great way to experience the best desert life has to offer.


See the view from the Tram

The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is possibly the city’s best known attraction. You’ll climb two and a half miles to the top of Mt San Jacinto in the world’s largest rotating tram car. Stroll along the top of the world and take in the sweeping views, or bring your gear and commit to a hike along one of the wilderness trails at the top. If you’re looking to relax, sit outside and sip a cool drink or treat yourself to lunch or dinner in Peaks Restaurant, The Lookout Lounge, or the Pines Café.

Walk the desert in Indian Canyons

Indian Canyons is located at the south end of Palm Springs on native land owned and managed by the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. For a small fee, you’ll have access to the many hiking trails which include riverside strolls and even waterfalls if the time of year is right. Green and leafy palm groves provide shady spots to rest or picnic. You’ll also find amazing desert photo ops if you’re looking to flex your photography muscles.

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Beautiful Indian Canyons

Visit one of the great regional attractions

Thousand Palms Oasis
There are so many other beautiful sights to see in the Coachella Valley region. Thousand Palms Oasis at the Coachella Valley Preserve is a beautiful natural wonder where you can find shade in a lush oasis of palm trees growing around a natural spring. You can also take any one of several trails that lead out from the oasis and enjoy a desert hike.

See Sunnylands
Formerly the Annenberg family compound, this historic complex known as Sunnylands is a massive estate on acres of beautiful land. Former ambassadors, the Annenbergs entertained presidents, celebrities, the queen, and many  international leaders. The Annenberg family trust now runs retreats and conferences devoted to international understanding here. Plan to book early for a small group tour of the home, and a driving tour of the gardens and grounds (which includes a private golf course!).

The Living Desert
If learning about desert flora and fauna is your thing, head to Palm Desert where you’ll find the Living Desert. This wildlife preserve also has gorgeous gardens laid out across easy to walk pathways and you can stop in at the Wildlife Hospital and check out any animals undergoing checkups or treatment, or just marvel at the vast variety of animals and plants in the facility’s care.

A stroll down ‘the strip’ known as Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs is also a nice way to get to know the city. Pop into any of the hundreds of shops and services, then take a break in one of the popular restaurants or bars along the way. Enjoy the perfect weather while it lasts by getting outside and taking in some of the amazing sights Palm Springs has to offer.

Palm Springs Traveller Staff